Improvement of a yeast self-excising integrative vector by prevention of expression leakage of the intronated Cre recombinase gene during plasmid maintenance inEscherichia coli

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The use of plasmids possessing a regulatable gene coding for a site-specific recombinase together with its recognition sequences significantly facilitates genome manipulations since it allows self-excision of the portion of the genetic construct integrated into the host genome. Stable maintenance of such plasmids in Escherichia coli, which is used for plasmid preparation, requires prevention of recombinase synthesis in this host, which can be achieved by interrupting the recombinase gene with an intron. Based on this approach, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Hansenula polymorpha self-excising vectors possessing intronated gene for Cre recombinase and its recognition sites (LoxP) were previously constructed. However, this work shows instability of the H. polymorpha vectors during plasmid maintenance in E. coli cells. This could be due to recombination between the loxP sites caused by residual expression of the cre gene. Prevention of translation reinitiation on an internal methionine codon completely solved this problem. A similar modification was made in a self-excising vector designed for S. cerevisiae. Apart from substantial improvement of yeast self-excising vectors, the obtained results also narrow down the essential part of Cre sequence.

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